Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom Review – The War for Cybertron Trilogy ends on a high note with the Maximals and Predacons
A year after the first chapter was released, the final chapter of the War for Cybertron Trilogy is nigh. Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom closes out the epic trilogy by bringing in Transformers from The Beast Wars series. The Maximals and Predacons are brought into the fray and also news from the future. Now not only are the Transformers fighting to save Cybertron, they are also fighting the future itself.
Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom begins where we left off in Transformers: War for Cybertron: Earthrise. After crash-landing on Earth, the Autobots and Decepticons are met by two rival Cybertronian factions from a future. These factions are descendants their conflict inadvertently created, the Maximals and the Predacons, or better known as the heroes and villains of the classic BEAST WARS: TRANSFORMERS series. Now the Autobots must team up with the Maximals to confront the Decepticons, who have joined forces with the Predacons, in the race to find the missing AllSpark. However, the Predacons are in control of the Golden Disk, a mysterious artifact that has a personal connection to both Megatrons and gives them an untold advantage over their enemies.
Kingdom is a great beginning to the end to the War for Cybertron Trilogy. The inclusion of Beast Wars is not only fanservice, that no one is complaining about, but great incorporation of a Transformers property that has long been left out of the lore. In terms of the War for Cybertron story, Kingdom continues the greatness set by Siege and Earthrise. It is a dark and compelling war story of the last surviving members of Cybertron. It has no clear right or wrong, and a lot of gray area that adds to the gravitas to the conflict. The Autobots do obviously display the ideal/goodmorals and values, but what good do they do if everyone goes extinct? The Decepticons often times cross over into evil territory, but they are protecting the species. Though is it worth living just to be an underling? War for Cybertron is a great version of the Transformers that does a great job of telling a good portion of the lore in a compelling, compact, and concise 18 episodes. But it definitely needs more. I can’t say much without spoiling, but it definitely needs more. I think that’s why Kingdom has “Chapter 1” before the episodes. But, I can’t confirm it.
However, I’m taking a full point off of my Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom review. The first half point is because of the stark contrast of Kingdom’s version of Beast Wars and the series. The second is purely personal but I feel many would agree. The Beast Wars I remember were descendants of the Autobots and Decepticons. The Maximals and Predacons are the future of the Autobots and Decepticons, but due to a time warp, they end up in the past with the Autobots and Decepticons prior to their awakening on Earth. In Kingdom, the Maximals and Predacons are still future descendants, but instead of them traveling back in time, the Autobots and Decepticons have traveled forward and on this Earth. And to clarify, the Autobots and Decepticons did not arrive prior to the Maximals and Predacons, so there are no Autobots and Decepticons in-stasis on the planet.
Now that the story differences have been established, let me talk about the other differences. In Beast Wars the characters are relatively smaller than the characters in Transformers. They’re the size of animals, not vehicles so in general, they’re about half the size. In Kingdom they’re all relatively the same size. This does work better visually and makes the story and the fighting much more balanced. It’s just a bit jarring to comprehend how big of a rat Ratrap has to be, or how giant of a spider Blackarachnia is. Also, it does make Dinosaur Megatron seem like a proper sized T-Rex. It’s a visual cue, but honestly it works.
The jarring part of the contrasts are the different voices and personalities of the characters. When rebooting, adapting, reimagining, different versions of established properties, especially popular properties, a lot of the voice of the characters have to sound like the original. For example, Bugs Bunny. Mel Blanc developed the voice of Bugs Bunny, and every impersonator has to sound like the voice he developed for it to even be considered. Transformers has numerous characters like that and so does Beast Wars. Optimus Primal, Megatron, and Dinobot are the most noticeable and jarring. Garry Chalk, unfortunately, was replaced by Justin Pierce for Optimus Primal, Scott McNeil was replaced by Krizz Kaliko for Dinobot, and David Kaye by Marqus Bobesich for Megatron. Not a ding on the performances in Kingdom, but the iconic sound of these characters is still very strong in the fans of Beast Wars. The completely different sound and different personalities makes it an entirely different character while still looking like the ones fans remember. The contrast takes viewers out of the moment. Personally, I feel this issue has been there since Siege, like with Optimus sound so different than Peter Cullen, but also weirdly trying to sound like him. But in Kingdom, it is now showstopping because Beast Wars was my introduction and bedrock to Transformers.
On the same note, but the main reason for the other half-point drop, is Predacon Megatron. Predacon Megatron in Kingdom is a punk. He’s not the megalomaniac he is in Beast Wars. He’s an overpowered second in command that has no ambition to be in charge. He’s a huge step down from the Beast Wars version to the point I actively dislike the character as a concept. In Beast Wars, Megatron had an absolute presence. He chewed the scenery among the best villains in any franchise. He was a truly evil and sadistic being, but also a leader. Kingdom’s Megatron is the worst sniveling number 2 in all of Transformers history. Think of the most spineless Starscream has ever been and multiply it by 10. That’s Kingdom’s Megatron.
Aside from that, Kingdom is a great closing chapter to end of War for Cybertron. With the inclusion of Beast Wars characters, we get to see the outcome and fallout of the War for Cybertron, and also an opportunity for hopefully an alternate outcome. Though there is an endpoint, I will be upset if that is all we get from this story. And knowing how many wars the Transformers have been apart of, I’m confident there will be more. Kingdom adds more gray by introducing the Maximals and Predacons who are grayer sides of good and evil. It creates a lot of internal conflict and questioning between good and evil. Although Kingdom continues the greatness of the War for Cybertron Trilogy, in every sense, it largely alters some of the pillars that made Beast Wars a great series and personally dampened my overall enjoyment of the final chapter. Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom, despite it’s not ideal incorporation of Beast Wars, is still a must-see renowned iteration of the Transformers franchise that most will enjoy overall. But because of my personal attachment to Beast Wars, and the confusing take on Predacon Megatron, my Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom Review gets a 3.5/5.
Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom Review
Aside from that, Kingdom is a great closing chapter to end of War for Cybertron. With the inclusion of Beast Wars characters, we get to see the outcome and fallout of the War for Cybertron, and also an opportunity for hopefully an alternate outcome. Though there is an endpoint, I will be upset if that is all we get from this story. And knowing how many wars the Transformers have been apart of, I’m confident there will be more. Kingdom adds more gray by introducing the Maximals and Predacons who are grayer sides of good and evil. It creates a lot of internal conflict and questioning between good and evil. Although Kingdom continues the greatness of the War for Cybertron Trilogy, in every sense, it largely alters some of the pillars that made Beast Wars a great series and personally dampened my overall enjoyment of the final chapter. Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom, despite it’s not ideal incorporation of Beast Wars, is still a must-see renowned iteration of the Transformers franchise that most will enjoy overall.